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academy school wins substantial costs in TUPE dispute with teaching union

7 December 2011

Claremont High School Academy has been awarded a substantial costs order by an employment tribunal against The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL).

The ATL issued proceedings against the Brent based school in July this year on the grounds that it had failed to inform and consult with staff in line with the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE) regulations as part of its conversion to an academy in April this year. The school vehemently disputed the claims.

However in September the ATL withdrew its claim days before the hearing, leaving the school to face a legal bill of thousands of pounds. The school applied to Watford Employment Tribunal for a full costs order.

In approving the costs order this week the employment judge criticised the union for acting unreasonably in first pursuing the claim and secondly in failing to withdraw it as soon as they had received the schools response.

Heather Bragg, employment lawyer at Browne Jacobson, who acted for Claremont High School, commented:

"We are delighted for our client who could have been facing a legal bill of thousands of pounds through no fault of its own.

"The schools management team and the governing body followed all the correct procedures throughout the entire academy conversion process.

"In our experience it is highly unusual for an employment tribunal to award a full costs order in such a case and in doing so reflects its concerns at the unions conduct and determination in pursuing its baseless claim."

Terry Molloy, Headteacher at Claremont High School Academy, added:

"We are delighted with the outcome of this employment tribunal decision as we believe that there was no case to answer. However, from the Schools perspective it is unfortunate that this case was brought allegedly on behalf of the very small number of ATL members as it did nothing but damage to the Schools relationship with its valued staff."

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Lakhbir Rakar

Lakhbir Rakar

PR Manager